Live Discussion with Dr Michelle Davis - 11th March 2020

Dr Davis will be hosting a live online discussion here on Wednesday 11th March, from 8.30pm to 10.00pm British Time or 3.30pm to 5.00pm US Eastern Time.

They will discuss as many topics as possible in the hour and a half and, as always, you are welcome to ask any questions at all about sleep or the Sleepio program. If there are a lot of questions, they may not be able to answer all in the time available, but will try to answer as many as they can.

Please do note that, as per our guidelines, Dr Davis will not be able to give personal medical advice including those about medication. Their replies to questions will be made in such a way as to help as many people as possible who might have similar issues.

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Posted 5 Mar 2020 at 6:14 PM
  • 14 comments
  • 3 helped

Comments

  • Sleepio Member

    • 5 comments
    • 2 helped
    Graduate

    Hey Dr Davis :)

    I have graduated from the programme and my sleep is improved, but I'm still working on extending my sleep window (I'm being cautious). I've been very conscientious about sticking to my schedule and not being in bed unless I'm asleep, but I really, REALLY miss the occasional lie-in with my husband at the weekend. It's torture to drag myself out of bed at 6am on a Sunday when he's sleeping so peacefully, and I miss cups of tea and sleepy cuddles in bed, waking up slowly together. (This is not a coded question about sex – I do remember from the course that that's fine – it literally is about quiet cuddly time before we get up.)

    How disastrous would it be to rebel every now and then and just stay in bed sometimes? It has been a lot of hard work getting myself to this point and I don't want to undo that. I'm hoping that the odd one-off, as long as I don't do it regularly, wouldn't hurt too much?

    Thank you!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 23 comments
    • 9 helped
    Graduate

    Hi Dr Davis, I have had a few nights this week where I have woken frequently with a racing mind (4 or 5 times a night. I do the putting the day to bed and the progressive relaxation and I am getting better at getting myself back to sleep, but do you have any advice for other ways to avoid it in the first place.
    Thanks

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    Hello Dr Davis. I graduated a few weeks ago but my sleep efficiency remains well below 90% at an average of 65% with 2 wakings through the night. My significant improvement has been on how quickly I fall asleep, which is great. I just need to get more than 4 hours, ideally of uninterrupted sleep, as my 5 year chronic sleep maintenance insomnia impacts dramatically on my ability to work and function in general. Based on data, how long would you say I need to stick with SR before I can reach 90% SE? I've been on a 6 hour sleep window from the start but feel so exhausted that am on the verge of giving up.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    My first night of sleep restriction last night unfortunately my last wake up time was 11 hour before my. Time to get up ( which is 1 hour earlier than my normal get up time). I didn’t know what to do as because if I got out of bed and read a book or something it wouldn’t be worth me going back to bed before the end of my sleep window. What should I have done?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
    • 1 helped
    Graduate

    Sorry just reread my post. It should have read that my last wake up time was ONE hour before my time to get up. Sorry brain half asleep.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Graduate

    I'm just starting the third week of the sleep restriction part of the program and am very pleased with finally falling in love with my bed again now that my mind can become so physically desperate for sleep that it has no choice but to sleep!! However, I'm finding that the addition of 15 minutes/week when my sleep efficiency is over 90% to be a bit discouraging, although I do understand the need for having a good amount of “sleep pressure” before going to bed. Are the weekly incremental increases pretty much always 15 minutes to keep the sleep pressure fairly steady? I've been tempted to cheat and add 30 minutes instead of 15 but I want to do the program as directed now that I've put so much dedication into it.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 5 comments
    • 2 helped
    Graduate

    Hmm, did something go wrong?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 453 comments
    • 181 helped
    Graduate

    Does anyone in charge of Sleepio know why there were no replies to the questions?
    Where is the Doctor?
    Kurly 8/

  • Sleepio Member

    • 453 comments
    • 181 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi Trish20, not sure why there was no one at the helm here last night (U.K. time)
    Well done on all you have achieved already, but I would say, please stick to the allowance given. It is really great that you’ve done so well so far, but if you cheat, you might end up ruining all your good work so far and end up with bad sleepies.
    There are quite a few of us who have tried to change our sleep window – too far, by 30 mins and it has really been difficult to get back on track.
    If I were you, I would stick to the plan and rejoice in the 15 minutes extra…just decide which end of your sleep window you’d like to add it to 8)
    The science behind Sleepio has been developed for our benefit and it truly works, and like me, you have dedicated yourself to the programme and it has paid off.
    (Let sleepio dogs lie, or don’t rock the boat!!)

    Koko! (Keep on, keeping on!).
    You’re doing fabulously:)
    Kurly 8)

  • Sleepio Member

    • 242 comments
    • 53 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Fillerbunny,

    My sincere apologies for a delayed response – there was a scheduling mix-up on my end.

    Congratulations on graduating from the program and great job on all your hard work! I’m glad you’re seeing improvements in your sleep.

    In an ideal world, it would be best to keep the bedroom for sleep and sex only, and get out of bed at the same time every day – even on the weekends! However, attaining perfection in this area can be unrealistic (and in certain circumstances, impossible) for many people.

    Staying in bed as an “odd one-off”, as you put it, isn’t likely to dramatically impact your sleep. But if it becomes a habit or routine, you might experience some difficulties again. It sounds like you have a good understanding of the recommendations, and an awareness that it's possible to slip back into bad habits. It will be up to you to decide how closely you want to stick to the guidelines.

    That said, when trying to balance the importance of getting good sleep with the importance of other aspects of your life (such as your relationship with your husband) I would typically recommend trying to see if there is a compromise. Is there a creative way to stick to the guideline, while also preserving this time with your husband? You mentioned tea, so I imagine that you’re already getting up to make it – what about relocating to another cozy spot with your tea? Could you move to a couch with your pillows and a blanket and spend time together there?

    As with all aspects of the Sleepio program, you are encouraged to implement them in a way that works best for you. I’d be interested to hear what you try and how it works!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 242 comments
    • 53 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi LizK,

    My sincere apologies for a delayed response – there was a scheduling mix-up on my end.

    Thanks for the question. I’m glad to hear you are using the relaxation exercises and finding them helpful. It’s important to remember that these techniques require repetition and practice to become truly beneficial. Relaxation and calming the mind are skills that can take some time to develop (like building a muscle!), and it sounds like you are seeing some improvements.

    A common suggestion for a racing mind is to try to get some light exercise during the day (not too close to bedtime). Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and calm the mind. Paying attention to caffeine intake (i.e., making sure you are not getting too much, and not too close to bedtime) is also recommended.

    You might also consider how long the awakenings last. Brief awakenings are extremely common, normal, and unavoidable. Everyone experiences them (though many people don’t remember them). The general recommendation is that the awakenings should only be considered a problem if they last 15 minutes or more, or they are causing a lot of distress or problems the next day (for example, causing extreme fatigue or reducing functioning). In this case, many people opt to try restricting their sleep to a specific window again to try to increase their sleep efficiency and reduce awakenings.

    If you find that you are experiencing a racing mind that is interfering with your day-to-day life, or that you feel you can’t handle on your own, you may want to speak to a doctor or medical professional.

    I hope that you are able to find something that works well for you.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 242 comments
    • 53 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi snunes,

    My sincere apologies for a delayed response – there was a scheduling mix-up on my end.

    Thanks for the question. I’m happy to hear you’ve made some significant improvements in how quickly you’re falling asleep. It sounds like you’ve put some effort into sleep restriction, which can be a really difficult process – great job sticking with it!

    I know it can be discouraging to work so hard and not see the improvements you’d like. First, I just want to quickly reiterate that there is science behind sleep restriction and why it works so well for improving sleep quality. Restricting sleep to a specific window of time (though challenging!) increases your biological drive for sleep (or sleep pressure). It also helps form a strong connection between being in bed and being asleep (i.e., reassociating the bed with sleep).

    It’s difficult to give a recommendation for how long you should stick with it without knowing your specific information and medical history. It will be up to you to decide whether you’d like to continue on with sleep restriction or not, and your doctor will be in the best place to advise you if you need help making that decision.

    My general advice for those who do decide to abandon sleep restriction is to continue to maintain a regular sleep/wake schedule (i.e., go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends), even if not restricting sleep to a shorter window.

    I also want to remind you that Sleepio is a self-help program, and sometimes people need more help than Sleepio can provide. If you feel like you’re not making the improvements you want or need, it is recommended that you speak to a doctor or medical professional.

    You’ve put in a lot of effort, and I hope you get the results you are hoping for soon!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 242 comments
    • 53 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Loisdawson,

    My sincere apologies for a delayed response – there was a scheduling mix-up on my end.

    Thanks for the question. The general recommendation in this situation is to try to go back to sleep, and to get up if you are unable to fall back asleep within 15 minutes of waking up.

    Another general tip is to not check the clock when waking up. Many people notice that if they check the clock and notice that it’s close to their rise time, they’re faced with the dilemma you described above (i.e., should I get up, or try to go back to sleep?). The idea would be to not look at the clock and just trying to go back to sleep regardless, getting out of bed if it takes longer than 15 minutes (which can obviously be estimated, as the recommendation is to not look at the clock!).

    I hope you find this helpful!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 242 comments
    • 53 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Expert

    Hi Trish20,

    My sincere apologies for a delayed response – there was a scheduling mix-up on my end.

    It sounds as if sleep restriction is doing its job as your drive for sleep (i.e., desire to go to sleep) sounds like it is high! This is one of the goals of sleep restriction and the science behind why it works so well – it restores your biological drive for sleep. Feeling a strong urge to go to sleep is a sign that sleep restriction is working.

    I do recognize that it can be difficult to increase your sleep window slowly when your sleep efficiency is high. The general recommendation is to stick with the 15 minute incremental increases, for the reason that you stated (to capitalize on that increased sleep pressure).

    However, it is always up to you how closely you want to stick to the recommendations in Sleepio. Everyone is different, and it will be important for you to balance trying to stick with the guidelines to what is best for your personal circumstances.

    Whatever you decide, it’s great to hear that you’ve put so much dedication into it, and I hope you start noticing some great benefits to all your hard work soon.

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